College Football Picks Week 11: Unranked Teams That Will Put Top Squads on Alert

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 8, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Bill O'Brien of the Penn State Nittany Lions leads his team onto the field before playing the Ohio State Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One minute, you're a ranked team feeling good about yourself. The next, you're in a dog fight with an unranked opponent.

This happens all the time in college football, but rarely do we acknowledge the possibility of an unranked squad making the BCS gods look silly.

In Week 11 of the 2012-13 college football campaign, there are several unranked "nobodies" who will make their presence known.

Here's a look at them, complete with my predictions.

Michigan (vs. No. 24 Northwestern)

Northwestern's running game has helped it vault to No. 24 in the BCS standings this season.

The Wildcats have averaged 5.28 yards per carry (tied for 15th in the nation) while notching 24 rushing touchdowns. They lost by one point to Nebraska on Oct. 20.

On the other hand, Michigan's run defense has the ability to limit Northwestern on the ground. The Wolverines have allowed 3.65 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns this season. That includes holding Nebraska to 3.9 yards per carry two weeks ago.

There's also the fact that this game is being played in Ann Arbor. Northwestern hasn't looked as good away from home this season.

Prediction: Michigan 24, Northwestern 21

Syracuse (vs. No. 9 Louisville)

Louisville is one of five undefeated teams in the country.

That doesn't change the fact that the Cardinals haven't beaten anyone of significance this season playing in the Big East.

Syracuse hasn't, either. However, the Orange have played much better at home this season. They lost by one point to Northwestern to start the season and stuck around through three quarters with USC in Week 2. They have won their last three games at home since.

Syracuse's pass defense still worries me against Teddy Bridgewater, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Orange kept it close in this one.

Prediction: Louisville 31, Syracuse 23

Penn State (at No. 16 Nebraska)

There will be a lot working against Penn State in this matchup. Nebraska is rolling behind Taylor Martinez and the game will be played in Lincoln. What's more, the last time the Nittany Lions faced a dual-threat quarterback, Ohio State's Braxton Miller rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, the Nittany Lions have won six of their last seven games since losing their first two to start the season. That includes a win over Northwestern.

They also have a defense that has generally been solid (allowing 17.1 points per game) and a quarterback in Matt McGloin who has played really well this season.

This should be closer than most people think.

Prediction: Nebraska 31, Penn State 24

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